Monday&Mustard&Oxblood&Jade

Fashion inspiration comes from all over in my case but as I’ve mentioned many times before, books more often than almost anything else. It’s a cover, a description or a phrase.

The colours are ones she has never been in the habit of wearing-oxblood, mustard, jade- and Mrs Chappell thinks she cannot quote like it, what with such hectic colour in the girl’s cheeks and lips, such spark in her eyes; everything about her seems brighter, sharper, fuller.

The quote is from The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock that I read (and blogged about) the other week. It has stayed with me as I often say of books i.e. I have thought about it, drawn inspiration from it, gone back and looked at the pages. In this case I had underlined the words in my first reading so had no trouble finding it.

This isn’t about inspiration to try something new for me but rather a coming together of some of my favorite shades (some of which are trendy this season) that I already wanted to wear. In some cases all at once.

This skirt in raw silk (or possibly silk-cotton blend) with embroidery in mustard and oxblood is in my top ten fave skirts. I wear it all year round, with a white blouse and sandals  in summer and darker colours in winter. Just shimmery enough to work day or night. The fabric was a gift from India and it has made me so happy.

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When people think “jade” they often limit the colour to one pale green shade, which I guess is correct in a “colour code” kind of way. However in reality jade is the word used for both “jadeite” and “nephrite”, minerals that exist in a variety of shades in mostly green but also shades of purple. I tend to think of it as either that intense green of this skirt or that lovely pale version , very art deco related, which is a hairsbreadth away from Eau de Nil or mint (love all those shades actually).
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My beloved jacket also qualifies as jade if I’m generous. My nails are in the shade Bordeaux which is pretty much oxblood and they will be so for many weeks to come; I go through one bottle of polish at a time usually. The skirt is part Lacroix fabric that was left over from when a friend reupholstered a few chairs (I helped and considered the scraps  payment, after all “it’s Lacroix sweetie“) and then trimmed with a bit of leather from when I helped another friend shorten a skirt. Waste not, want not. This does look much nicer with a heel but for running errands I put those in the bag and wore my sneaks. There is a bit of yellow in this skirt and looking at what I’ve been wearing lately, and all the lovely mustard coats in the shops, I’m tempted to buy one. For now though I have a few projects lined up as I went through my closet this weekend, trying to organize, see what needs mending and figure out what of to wear.

-Suss

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Weekend and what Hogwarts house to dress as this season?

I have Harry Potter “top of mind” right now. It’s the celebration of it being 20 years since the first book was published, it has been around a lot on “the gram” and in the media so apparently it lodged itself firmly in my subconscious. And then Snyder mentioned it which was just great, now I cannot get the idea of a reread out of my head. I blame this for the way I look at clothes right now because there is a Hogwarts theme to outfits and potential purchases.

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It started with this thing on Monday. snake-skin print skirt I made myself the other year, good ol’ black top and my trusted green jacket. Not a bad look I think but then someone said to me “Got a bit of Slytherin going on today have you?” which made me look in the mirror again and realize that I was indeed wearing the Slytherin colours and snake print to boot, their symbol is a snake after all.

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And later that day I was going through my phone trying to delete photos (as to not use up all the memory) I found the ones I had taken while trying on outfits at Zara. I was primarily looking for a fall coat and this bronze-ish number was something I tried with a blue top underneath. I was never planning on wearing them together but now that I had my Potter-spectacles on I could see that I was essentially dressing in Ravenclaw colours. In the book they have blue and bronze, had I worn an eagle pin on the lapel the outfit would have been complete (note to self; buy eagle pin). In the movies they changed the colours to blue and silver for whatever reason. Which makes me think that all Ravenclaws use Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche as their signature scent, because the bottle it comes in matches the house colours (note to self; maybe Rive Gauche would be a nice scent for me).

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Another thing I tried was this yellow coat. It was in the other end of the store so different dressing room, one not so good for photo-ops. And my scruffy sneaks should be ignored. Wearing yellow with black is a bit tricky in this town as it is the colors of one of the football teams. I do not care for them ,or any other team for that matter, bit it’s a reference I cannot get away from. But I like the slouchy cut of the coat, and a bit of yellow. I think it’s an underrated color and I’m glad it’s getting a bit of spotlight.

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Which brings me to this old saffron blouse from H&m and my homemade wine red coat; on Saturdays we Gryffindor? This is an excellent combo for going out for a cup of coffee with a friend and then running some errands. As I already have this coat, the yellow one will not be needed. So I have something soft and slouchy in a non-neutral but the sharp bronze/brown one would actually fill a gap in my closet (but unfortunately not keep me very warm). I have a soft spot for cobalt blue but will try to find something knitted of better quality. The green jacket I have worn for three years and will continue to do so until it fall apart. Ditto the snake print skirt.

To be fair, when I read the book I always felt that I would not have ended up at Hogwarts but would have preferred Beauxbatons. I need one of those little blue capes, it would complete all my outfits. It really would.

-Suss

 

 

Tuesday & Tablecloths

My love of curtain fabric will never fade but the next best thing is probably tablecloth. Just like with curtains they are often of a robust fabric, many of them have lovely patterns and there is an abundance of them as they are no longer fashionable. Oh, and they tend to get stains rendering them less usable for the table but ever so good for me.

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This is one of my all time fave skirts, if it had pockets it would be perfection but alas not enough fabric.  I use it all year around. The colors (burgundy,beige and a bit of blue) work with a lot and somehow a bohemian skirt is never a bad idea( in fact I have several). It wasn’t exactly as big I needed so there is a bit in the back that is just black( I used something that I had laying around) but as I often wear skirts or sweaters with it nobody notices. And if anyone ever says something the phrase “I upcycled an old tablecloth myself” will be the only response. Most people just admire the fabric and people from Iran will point out that they have something just like that on the table at home, I then show them the stamp on the inside as it is in fact an Iranian tablecloth.

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Having made that one, I was given this fabric, also an Iranian tablecloth, which got turned into a summer dress last year. Now that it’s warmer I’m using it again. I’ve noticed that I probably should take it in as the fabric has become looser and softer with use. Blue and white is a great combo, I often add a belt of some sort for definition and a pop of color as I like it.

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This is an old skirt that I have gotten a fair bit of use out of. Its linen and judging by the colors probably from the 70’s. I made a 50’s design because when I hade taken away the damaged pieces (those stains wouldn’t budge I tell you) the design of the weave lent itself to it. I am thinking about making it into a pencil skirt right now as it’s something that I would have more use of probably, given what else is in my closet at the moment. I do however love wearing it with a white shirt and some sea green accessories or neutral shoes and a hot pink clutch which is such a nice contrast. In my world orange is a neutral.

-Suss

7 things to print on a t-shirt(or other)

So witty text printed or embroidered on something is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. T-shirts,pouches or pillows, the sky is the limit. And that pleases me to no end as I’m a huge fan. I even make my own even though Lingua Franca and Lisa Macario are the the coolest chicks doing it. The latter has one that says “lipstick literature liberalism”. I made one that says “Books Negronis Lipstick”. One of the few times I didn’t go all in with alliteration (as I’m otherwise wont to do).

So what’s next? I’ve been thinking about what to make as a statement on a shirt for fall. It is possible that some of these have already been made by someone else (and please let me know if that is the case). I haven’t decided if I am gonna print or embroider. I do really well with a needle and thread and have made modern proverbs on fabric for friends in the past.

1.Mrs. President. I saw a woman with the words “Mr President” on a sweater the other day. It may have been from one of previously mentioned ladies. But as many seem to have a hard time getting their head around the idea of a female president why not have it on a t-shirt? If people see it enough times they will (hopefully) get used to the idea. (delusional thinking on my part, and mostly to do with wanting to fly my feminist colours high and wide).

2. Whatever Trump tweets next. I’ve seen so many “covfefe” memes that have been spot on that I’m just waiting for a brainfart from that man and I’m joining in. Which might be counterproductive.

3. Oh, I call everyone darling. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that I’m shit with names so just walking around with a disclaimer seems like a good idea. I do however remember peoples allergies and cocktail preferences. My brain famoulsy only memorizes the important things.

4. Really?. I say this a lot, and sarcastically so. It would save having to say anything, I could just point at the word and question mark on my chest. Might not be a great friend maker though.

5. Byron is bae. Or possibly Byron is the new black. He is everywhere and he brings drama. I should create an excel-file for all the Byron mentions in books and bring you the stats at the end of the year, and stats there will be, trust me. That would also be the nail in the coffin for the expression “bae”.

6. Chewbacca has hairy legs too you know. I do often shave my legs but really every woman should chose for herself if and why. Why the sight of hairy legs is the worst thing to some men but Chewbacca is the BFF they all want makes little sense. (Of course it makes sense in accordance to a patriarchal logic, rationality is context dependent and you can convince yourself of anything as long as you ignore facts or actually think something though. I know that, previous statement was an attempt, however feeble, to be funny).

7. Cocktail witchery. After all it’s one of my favorite things.

-Suss

Friday & Feeling like Jackie O.

I have a few unlikely style icons that I look to for inspiration, and a few that are the same as the rest of the world. Like Jackie O during the editor years(and a bit). So we are talking 70’s and early 80’s, an era I love in general. Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, a lot of what Yves Saint Laurent designed and what Loulou de la Falaise wore ( who was Saint Laurent’s muse). Pictures of Charlotte Rampling of that era are the kind of thing that gets me salivating, and I can look of pictures of Ossie Clark dresses all day if I had the time.

But back to Jackie. I did a quick search online and the web has a lot of iconic photos of her out and about. You have probably already seen them before, they are often brought up. What have I been wearing this week then?

None of these outfits are exact replicas of hers, but I feel they are very much in the spirit of her style.

The black dress is made out of an old dust ruffle I was given. Why someone would have a black dust ruffle I do not know. Summer is usually all about the white and light summer dresses, and for good reason, but a black summer dress is not a bad idea. This one has pockets in the front and has no zippers or anything. Very good at the beach(without a belt it’s like a tent so very good for using as cabin to change out of a wet bikini) but a nice belt and some bracelets and earrings and I look smart enough to go out to dinner.

I love flared jeans and striped sweaters. Very little to add to that. These are items that I have bought. The jeans are old H&M and the striped top is from Other Stories (two years ago?). And my birch bag is is use all the time now. I must learn not to stuff it full of things because then it will break. Must read small books on the commute!!

Same sandals. A skirt that I bought second hand and is a great colour and quality actually, it’s a heavy cotton. When I’ve worn out the elastic on this it will probably become another skirt. And further down the line possibly pillows. This pale green is a colour I love and the details are hot pink and orange so it really did scream my name. And then just a long sleeve black t-shirt with that. As noticed I do love a boat neckline.

Summer style aside, all of these pieces (with the exception of the sandals) are stuff I use in winter too. I pull up the skirt a bit so not to get it wet and then wear it with black boots and a cashmere sweater. Jeans and top is look that has no season but all of them. The black dress is great with a big grey cardigan and a chunky necklace for that weekend bohemian vibe. Will remember to to take pics and show you when winter comes (which is probably next Tuesday. I live too damn close to the wall).

Have a great weekend everyone!

-Suss

7 ways to customize a sweater(or any other fabric)

So let’s say, hypothetically, that you have a grey sweater in jersey. That very comfy, excellent fit kind that you really love. And that suddenly there is a stain, like a blueberry stain that’s impossible to get out. What to do? You don’t need to throw away the sweater, you can use it as a canvas for your creativity. All of these ideas can used on other items of clothing (I have) or fabric used in the home (I’ve done that too). It doesn’t matter if you are so called “up cycling” or trying to create something original from the start, these are applicable.

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1. Go all Jackson Pollock on it. Paint spatter has a long history, spatterware is actually a thing. You have to have a little bit of space to because you are flinging fabric paint on fabric (in this case) but the results can be very cool. It’s not more difficult than that.

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2. Do the dab. Whether you are using just a paint brush or one of those little round fabric sponges you can create a patter of sorts by a series of gentle applications. If you make dots with a fabric sponge you are basically creating a Damian Hirst painting. He doesn’t do the dots himself you know. If you use the brush and make marks in black paint on white fabric it will look like you have dressed yourself in a dalmatian. Cruella de Ville wasn’t wrong in wanting to do that, it’s how she went about it that was always the problem in my view. Fake dalmatian, fake snake and fake leopard is so much better then the real thing.

3. Stamp it. Fabric stamps are good stuff. You can get a ready made one or one of those “carve it yourself kits” but then you have every possibility of doing a very exact and nice print. Maybe one heart in red on one sweater, a multitude in blue on an old dress and why not make a couple of pillowcases while you are at it. My experience in this tells me that once you start, it’s difficult to stop.

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4. Iron on some letters. Here I’ve just used some left over Q’s from when I’ve been making shirts with witty captions but just randomly ironing on letters all over the from of a sweater is gonna be hella awesome. I’m sure that if I search my memory I have seen it done somewhere, or maybe I have just been thinking about doing it loads. I do have a lot of rarely used letter laying around. I got these from the craft store. You could obviously cover up a stain by just adding a cool phrase using these kinds of letters.

5. Applique s’il vous plaît. If you go to a good haberdashers you will find a range of applications that are ready made and only need to be either stitches on or ironed on. Getting a set of them, adding several over the front at regular intervals is all you need to do. Small embroidered flowers can look tragic using just one or two but a dozen of them? There is style in numbers I always say, meaning that there is safety in numbers. It looks like a thought. There are tiny patches with sequins that I’ve seen and that sort of thing would also look good on most clothing items. This technique is also very good for covering small holes and tears in items.

6. Batik is chic. Tie-dye has a bad reputation but I do love it. What you need to do to avoid that hippie vibe lays mostly in the styling. And having a cool tie-dyed sweater with just a pair of leather trousers and some heels, or just a skirt with a white crisp shirt works just fine. My bleached jeans were more ska-skin then hippie and I loved those. Either have one tie-dyed item in amongst some very classic pieces or go all in by clashing a batik shirt with some batik trousers. Indigo(or other colours) can be bought at the crafts store and then follow the instructions on the packaging.

7. The last draw. My final solution would be to get fabric pens and draw free hand. The great thing about these is that they don’t need to be fixated with an iron, not stitched on, no nothing. They just need time to dry properly. Drawing freehand can feel intimidating but obviously you can use a template.

-Suss

Tuesday & Transformations

A few of the things I’ve been wearing lately, things that started out as something else. My clothes, or indeed all sorts of fabric that comes into my realm, lives through several incarnations.

Mandarin coat used as a dressing gown, turned into a top:

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The coat or shirt was bought second hand but was a lovely big Chinese style thing in black silk with embroideries, big sleeves and a mandarin collar that I used (mostly) as a dressing gown. It wasn’t in great knick when I bought it and I wore it a lot. When seems and fabric started to give up I used the good bits to make this top that, true story, ripped in the back later in the day of this photo. Good bye and thanks for all the good times. I used the top a fair bit so no hard feelings. Will probably cut out the good bits of this and try to use those again. I do love the embroidery on this.

Halterneck dress turned into a skirt:

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Not the best photo but this skirt started out as a halterneck dress bought on sale from H&M and I have lived in it for a few summers, with the result that the ties gave up. The easiest remedy, and a chance to have this lovely print still in my life, was to cut it along the waist seam and turn it into a skirt. Took all of 15 minutes with the little sewing(zigzagging the edges) that was needed. Very happy with the results. I’ve used this trick several times, if a dress has a defined waist that is an excellent place to cut it when making it into a skirt, and I often do. Sleeves and armpits are the first thing to go on most dresses in terms of regular wear and tear.

Chair cover turned into a dress:

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This IKEA fabric was purchased to make a cover for a reading chair that I used to have that was beautiful but also on the point of disintegrating. It lasted for a while longer but when the chair gave up the fabric was still good, and so this dress happened. I use this all year round, it’s such a brilliant floral print but with dramatic colours. If the photo looks familiar it’s because it’s from my feed on IG, and old one but more fun than the one’s I had taken recently.

-Suss